Tompkins County Public Library

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Patron Comments March-April 2016

Comment:  I just wanted to mention how unpleasant I find the painting of a large red rifle that “killed 17 people.”  The image and information is out of place in a public library.
Response:  Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback about our recent art exhibit, “Project for a Re-Volution in New York.”  As a public library, we find ourselves at the center of many important and thought-provoking community conversations.  While the services and collections we provide are carefully selected to serve as a reflection of our community’s needs, we also feel very strongly that we shouldn’t censor art, books or music based on personal preference or political ideas. In the case of this exhibit, Curator Todd Ayoung asked artists to translate their perceptions of the word “revolution” into art.  The result was an eclectic exhibit with 22 different perspectives, including the painted guns placed throughout the stacks.  Though uncomfortable for some, housing an exhibit of this type within the library allows for a safe place for community members to hold important, difficult discussion about societal trends and issues.  We hope you will consider joining us later this spring when we host a presentation about public art, its roles and responsibilities.  Please know how much we appreciate your thoughtful comments.  They will help us as we plan for future exhibits.

Comment:  Order more books for the STEAM Book Club.
Response:  We are delighted to hear of your interest in our Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Book Club.  We truly believe that programs like this one will prove instrumental in helping prepare young adults for the high school, college and beyond.  A relatively new program, the Club has been gaining “steam” of its own in recent weeks, which has resulted in the need to order additional copies for interested patrons.  Please know that we want as many students to attend as possible and will always order additional copies to accommodate interested participants.

Comment:  Label the Comment Box.
Response:  Thank you for this practical suggestion!  We’re glad you were able to find the box so that you could share your feedback!   We will be happy to create signage to make locating the box easier.

Comment:  Audio recording for phone messages needs improvement.
Response:  Thanks for sharing your concerns about our recorded phone greeting.  We are always looking for ways to make contacting and communicating with the library easier for our patrons.  Please contact Carrie Wheeler-Carmenatty at to offer additional insight into the improvements you would like to see.

Comment:  Put a recycling bin up front.
Response:  As a leader in our community’s sustainability movement, we are delighted to receive your request to make recycling easier during your visits to TCPL.  We will be happy to add an additional recycling bin to our lobby,

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Patron Comments March 2016

Comment:  On library email notices, please reverse your message.  State items out and their due dates first, followed by items being automatically renewed.  This would draw attention to items not renewed and due sooner.
Response:  Thank you for your thoughtful suggestion.  We are delighted to be able to offer automatic renewals to our patrons and pleased that you use email notifications to keep your account current.  We will reach out to our colleagues at the Finger Lakes Library System, as they manage our electronic account notifications, and ask that they explore the possibility of a change of this type.  We appreciate your suggestion, and are constantly looking at ways to enhance and enrich library services.

Comment:  I’m really not comfortable with the depictions of guns scattered throughout the library.  There are too many youth in this community who would take that as glorifying the use of guns.  It’s disturbing, but then, I guess it is supposed to be.
Response:  Thank you for sharing your concerns about our current art exhibit, “Project for a Re-Volution in New York.”  The wooden guns scattered throughout our stacks depict the models of weapons used in mass shootings in the United States during recent years.  We feel strongly that the public library is a neutral space for important, and often difficult, community conversations; however, we did take extreme care to keep this particular installation limited to areas of the library less frequented by young patrons.  We are fortunate to be able to bring thought-provoking, museum-quality art exhibits to our community and appreciate that you have taken the time to explore the exhibit and share your concerns.  We will use this feedback as we select future exhibits.

Comment:  People know urine from the men’s room floor is frequently tracked onto the carpet.  I don’t know if it is ever shampooed.  Please put in tile (cheaper) floor and people will feel much better. 
Response: Please be assured that cleanliness is extremely important to all of us at TCPL. Our dedicated Facilities team works diligently to keep the library looking beautiful for nearly 400,000 visitors each year.  Even after 15 years, regular shampooing has helped to keep our carpets relatively stain-free. As part of our upcoming renovations, however, our wall-to-wall carpeting will be replaced with removable carpet squares—making the replacement of worn or damaged sections easier and more affordable. 

Comment:  Change your hours.  I work during the day.  Stay open until 11 p.m.!
Response:  We appreciate your request and share your desire for extended library hours.  While current funding limitations prevent us from offering additional hours at this time, we have recently expanded our daily hours and are currently open on Sundays.  Please visit our website for more information about our hours and services.
Comment:  Hi!  Please change the self-checkout program in the kids’ area, so that it is like the one in the adult area—no bees, ants or ladybugs on the screen.  Such distractions are pointless and contribute to ADD and just plain old distraction.  I want my daughter to learn to be focused, not scatter-brained and unable to concentrate.  Thanks for being an awesome library!  PS—Fewer screens throughout the library would be most appreciated.
Response:  Thank you for your feedback and for helping your daughter to establish a lifelong love of literacy and learning through regular visits to the library.  The goal of our Youth Services staff is to make the library accessible and enjoyable to children and families at every age and every stage.  While some parents and young patrons prefer to browse and borrow from our expansive print collection, others find learning opportunities through our digital offerings. We want our youngest users to feel that our Youth Services Department is truly a place where they are encouraged to learn, play and explore at their own pace and with tools designed specifically for them. However, our entire collection, and the self-checkouts in the adult section are available for those who require or prefer less visual stimulation.  Please visit us often and continue to encourage your daughter to celebrate the magic of reading!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Patron Comments January 2016

Comment:  Would you ask maintenance to clean the outside bookdrops, especially the tops?
Response:  Thank you so much for this thoughtful reminder.   We will have our Facilities team to address this as soon as possible.

Comment:  Have people sign-up for their library card outside of the line then get back in line.  Otherwise, this holds everything up.
Response:  Thanks so much for taking the time to share this important feedback.  Our Access and Circulation staff work diligently to provide quality, efficient service for our patrons, and we agree that, while signing new members up for library cards is one of our most important services, it can be time consuming.  While available technology requires us to complete sign-ups at the Circulation Desk, we are continually exploring new options for streamlining this service. Thank you for your continued patience.

Comment: Please place several trash cans around the front door so people won’t throw cigarette butts on the ground—and maybe a sign asking folks to “throw butts away here.”
Response:  Thank you for your desire to keep our library beautiful!  We are happy to ask our Facilities staff to provide additional garbage receptacles for our entrance and have designated all library property as “non-smoking” in an effort to minimize littering.

Comment:  I’ve noticed the decorative plantings that have been added to the planter along Cayuga Street and want to say what an attractive touch they add.
Response:  Thank you so much for taking the time to share your appreciation for our “Library Garden.”  We are tremendously fortunate for the efforts of Volunteer Coordinator Yvette Rubio and the tireless team of volunteers who keep our gardens beautiful.

Comment:  The Library can serve me by answering my questions for once.  Why is there a big red exit sign at the east end, yet when one walks there he/she finds that it is, indeed, not a real exit?  I’m not holding my breath ‘til I get an answer, because you have never given me one.
Response: We’re sorry to hear that you haven’t received answers to your questions in the past.  Our library staff is committed to helping patrons answer even the most challenging questions, so please let a staff member know any time you feel like your questions have not been addressed to your satisfaction.
According to state and local fire codes and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, all doors providing a means of egress must be adequately marked with illuminated “EXIT” signage. 

While access to the Library during regular operating hours is provided exclusively through our main entrance, all doors with “EXIT” can, and should be used during emergencies.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Patron Comment October and November 2015

Comment:  It would be nice if there was a placard in non-fiction that was a guide to what belonged in each section of the Dewey Decimal system.
Response:  Thank you for taking the time to browse our collection and to submit your feedback.  We are consistently working to make our collection as accessible as possible, and comments like yours help us to develop policies and procedures which make that accessibility possible.  Your suggestion will be shared with our Information and Learning Services Department for consideration.
Comment:  Such a great Community Read book this year (much better than last year). Keep doing that!
Response:  We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed this year’s Community Read of “Slaughterhouse-Five,” by Kurt Vonnegut.  While we were deeply saddened to learn that our Community Read partner, Cornell University’s New Student Reading Project will not continue in further academic years, we are commitment to providing ongoing opportunities for our patrons to share the bond of reading a common title, and are currently exploring exciting options for next year.
Comment:  There is such a dearth of parking for library patrons, and what little there is, is often cordoned off for construction.  I suggest a drive-up book/video return in one of the spots on Green Street.  Many times, all I want to do is return materials on time, but alas, no parking is available!
Response:  We understand and echo your concerns about library parking.  Parking remains a challenge for TCPL and all of downtown Ithaca.  If we are to be able to meet patron needs and provide accessibility for library users of every age and every stage in our current space, we will need to pursue creative solutions like yours.  Please know that we are constantly exploring ideas like this one and are committed to making each patron experience a positive one.  Thank you for sharing this inspired idea!
Comment:  The library is too noisy.  I asked Mormons who were inside preaching to go outside to talk and was told that “this library is for talking.”
Response:  Thank you so much for sharing your concerns.  While we do recognize that the way people are using their libraries is changing, and that we are vibrant, vital, bustling parts of the communities we serve, we also want to make sure that our patrons can rely on the library to offer space for personal reflection, quiet reading and study.  To that end, we have a designated quiet space, The Ezra Cornell Reading Room, which offers a comfortable, calm space for individuals. And, we encourage you to share future concerns regarding noise with a library staff member during your visit.
Comment:  Friends of the Library tote bags should be available to purchase with a credit or debit card.
Response:  Thanks for your suggestion.  The Friends of the Library bags are a much-loved holder of books, groceries and newspapers for hundreds in our community, and we are delighted to be able to offer them for purchase at TCPL.  The cash-only payment system was implemented to ensure that the funds from bag sales go directly to The Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library, without the necessity for additional accounting measures.  However, we will continue to explore additional options for making this possible in the future, because we love to see our patrons proudly support the Friends and their library!
Comment:  Too many screens!  The one above the toys near the Circulation Desk is especially annoying.  I don’t bring my daughter here to watch TV.

Response:  We’re sorry that you don’t enjoy our promotional screens. They are a beloved tool for many patrons looking to learn about upcoming programs, new additions to our collection and special library events, and unlike TV, there are no commercials!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Patron Comments September 2015

Comment:  I was walking along the gallery to the TCPL entrance today and found and picked up some trash to throw away, but there was no trash receptacle.  Can one be put there or outside of the entrance to the library?
Response:  Thank you so much for helping to keep our library and community beautiful and litter-free!  We have submitted your request to our Facilities team and hope to have a receptacle added in the near future.  In the meantime, please visit the east side of our building to check out our new collaboration with Tompkins County Solid Waste—a public space recycling receptacle.
Comment:  Someone steals the art section of The New York Times.  Every time I want to do the crossword puzzle, it is missing.
Response:  We are eight-letter word for shocked to learn that someone has been seven-letter word for raising to a higher level or position and are deeply five-letter word for apologetic.  The Times’ Art section has long been a patron favorite, and we will do our best to more closely monitor our periodical section to ensure that it is available for continued enjoyment.
Comment:  All of you, and the Library Rocks!  Keep Going!
Response:  Thank you so much!  We are the product of an amazingly supportive community who has championed their public library for 150 years, and with your continued support, we hope to be here for 150 more!
Comment:  Your air conditioning is too cold!
Response:  Thanks for sharing your feedback.  TCPL is a designated community “cool down” location, so we try to maintain a comfortably-cool temperature for patrons who need some respite from the summer sun.  Since our weather is notoriously unpredictable, the room temperature in the library can vary slightly from day to day.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and hope you will visit us again soon.
Comment:  The new automatic renewal is very much appreciated.  Thank you!
Response:  We’re glad to hear that you are enjoying our automatic renewal service.  It is just one of the ways TCPL works to making the library easily-accessible and is a wonderful tool for reducing fines and late fees for our valued patrons.
Comment:  The art exhibit is not appropriate for a public place with many children.  I understand it is a dark message, but for a child-centered location it is too disturbing,
Response:  Thanks for sharing your feedback about our “Rhino Toys” exhibit.  Much conversation and planning went into our decision to feature “Rhino Toys” at TCPL.  While we believe that the library has an obligation to support and feature works that might otherwise be censored or challenged and to serve as a safe space for community conversations on sensitive and controversial topics, we did take steps to make the exhibit less accessible to our young patrons, including moving our exhibit cases from their usual home near the entrance of our Youth Services Department.   We are proud to be able to offer our patrons free access to museum-quality art exhibits, and we hope you will continue to explore the outstanding shows we have planned for the remainder of 2015.
Comment:  The “Rhino Toys” exhibit is superb and should be on display in all of our schools!  Thank you for your courage.
Response:  We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed “Rhino Toys” and proud to be able to offer free access to thought-provoking exhibits for our entire community.  “Rhino Toys” artist, Rich Tomasello is a public school art teacher in the Buffalo area, and his work has been displayed throughout Western NY and in the New York City region.  It is continuing to gain attention, and we are confident that it will be exhibited widely in the months to come.
Comment:  I have been meaning to tell someone that the huge planters along the side of the library have been beautiful all spring and summer.  Thank you for doing such lovely plantings and maintaining them so well all through this hot summer.
Response:  Thanks for our gorgeous “Library Gardens” goes to an outstanding group of volunteers under the direction of Volunteer Coordinator Yvette Rubio.  They are truly a beautiful addition to our outstanding library, and we are delighted that you have enjoyed them!
Comment:  Please inform customers in the first email that books are on-hold and cannot be renewed.  Currently, it just says “potential renewal.”
Response:  Thank you for your feedback about our new automatic renewal service.  This service is truly “automatic,” as are its related email responses.  As we become more familiar with the product, we hope to use feedback from patrons like you to help the providing vendor make it even more user-friendly. 
Comment:  I have an idea—purchase art from local artists for patrons to rent for one to two weeks.
Response:  We love the creative ideas of our patrons!  Did you know that several years ago, TCPL actually loaned prints of famous art pieces?  We love the idea of celebrating our local artists with a service like this and are always looking at ways to enhance our collection for our patrons.  Most recently, we have added tools to measure electricity usage, household tool kits, umbrellas and tote bags to our offerings.  Thanks for your inspired idea and for recognizing that libraries offer more than just books.
Comment:  You should have a teen lock-in with movies and food.
Response:  Thanks for sharing your idea.  TCPL has an ever-evolving selection of programs for young adult patrons, and our Campaign for a 21st Century Library is well on its way to helping us build a unique space for teens to enjoy books, explore technology and connect with friends through programs like this.  Please visit for a current list of library programs for teens.